Muscat : The banking sector in Oman continued its positive growth trend run in 2013. The combined balance sheet of the commercial banks indicated a positive growth in all major banking aggregates so far. Total assets of the commercial banks increased by 7.8 per cent to OMR22.3 billion in November 2013 , compared to OMR20.7 billion a year ago. On the other hand, gross domestic product (GDP) at current prices increased modestly by 2.6 per cent to OMR22.7 billion during the first nine months of 2013 from OMR22.1 billion during the same period last year. The price situation remained, by and large, under control in the Sultanate during 2013. Upto November 2013 , the average inflation rate, measured by annual variation in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for the Sultanate, stood lower at 1.3 per cent compared to 2.9 per cent a year ago. As regards the fiscal and external position of the Sultanate in 2013, the overall fiscal surplus stood at OMR610.2 million at the end of November 2013 , while merchandise trade registered a surplus of OMR6.5 billion at the end of August 2013 . Of the total assets, credit disbursement accounted for 68.4 per cent and increased by 6.3 per cent over the year to OMR15.2 billion at the end of November 2013 . While credit to the government declined by 39.3 per cent, credit to the private sector and public enterprises increased by 7 per cent and 3.1 per cent, respectively. Investment in securities Of the total credit to the private sector by end November 2013 , the share of the non-financial corporate sector stood at 47.1 per cent, closely followed by that of the household sector (mainly personal loans) at 45.5 per cent and of the financial corporations at five per cent while other sectors accounted for the remaining 2.4 per cent. Commercial banks' overall investments in securities sector increased by 11 per cent to OMR2.4 billion by the end of November 2013 , from OMR2.2 billion a year ago. Of the total investments, Central Bank of Oman certificates of deposit (CDs) stood at OMR1.1 billion while investment in Government Development Bonds (GDBs) stood at OMR558.6 million at the end of November 2013 . On the liabilities side of the balance sheet, the total deposits held with commercial banks also witnessed a significant rise of 7.5 per cent to OMR15.2 billion in November 2013 from OMR14.1 billion in November 2012 . Government deposits with commercial banks increased by 15.1 per cent to OMR4.5 billion , while deposits of public enterprises declined by 11.4 per cent to OMR867.9 million during the same period. Private sector deposits, which constituted 62.8 per cent of the total deposits with commercial banks, increased by 5.6 per cent to OMR9.5 billion in November 2013 , up from OMR9 billion a year ago. Profit shows uptrend Sector-wise, the share of households was 49.3 per cent of the total private sector deposit base, followed by non-financial corporations at 26.4 per cent, financial corporations at 22.7 per cent (of which pension funds accounted for almost 19 per cent of the private sector deposits) and other sectors at 1.6 per cent. The provisional figure for net profits of commercial banks (domestic operations) stood higher at OMR290.6 million for the period from January to November 2013 , compared to OMR272.1 million during the corresponding period in 2012.
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